Muhammad Najem

Hope: The chance to learn can change a child’s life

In the midst of adversity, when the world seemed to crumble around her, 10-year-old Dorcas from the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, held onto a Hope – the dream of an education. Little did she know that her determination would be met with unwavering support from organizations dedicated to ensuring that every child, no matter their circumstances, has the chance to learn.

May 2021 was a fateful month for Dorcas and her family. The Nyiragongo volcano erupted, unleashing chaos and devastation upon their community. In the aftermath of the disaster, Dorcas and her loved ones found themselves displaced, their home reduced to ashes, and their school reduced to rubble.

For Dorcas, the prospect of losing an entire year of schooling was terrifying. Education was not just a dream for her; it was a lifeline, a beacon of hope in uncertain times. She, like millions of other children worldwide, understood that education was the key to unlocking her full potential and breaking the chains of poverty and adversity.

In 2023, organizations committed to the cause of education, such as UNICEF, stepped up to ensure that Dorcas and children like her could continue their educational journeys. Two emergency tents were set up to serve as temporary classrooms, providing a safe and conducive learning environment. These makeshift classrooms allowed students to resume their education, even in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

But the story of resilience and hope did not end there. Thanks to the tireless efforts of organizations and the unwavering spirit of communities, new classrooms were constructed. These classrooms were more than just physical structures; they were symbols of renewal and progress. They stood as a testament to the world’s commitment to ensuring that no child is left behind.

Dorcas, ever determined and optimistic, saw these new classrooms as a stepping stone toward her dreams. She expressed her gratitude, saying, “I was afraid to spend a whole year without studying because we had no school. I’m happy because I’m going to finish my primary education soon and go on to secondary school to be a boat captain.”

Dorcas’s story is not an isolated one. In 2021 alone, organizations like UNICEF and their partners helped 49 million children around the world return to school. These efforts are a testament to the unwavering belief that the chance to learn can change a child’s life.

Education is a fundamental right, regardless of a child’s background, gender, or ethnicity. It is the cornerstone upon which dreams are built, the ladder out of poverty, and the bridge to a brighter future. As we look ahead to a world where every child has access to quality education, we must continue to support innovative programs and break down barriers to learning.

Dorcas’s journey, from the ashes of a volcanic eruption to the promise of a brighter future through education, serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, hope and determination can prevail. The story of Dorcas and countless other children like her reaffirms our collective commitment to ensuring that the chance to learn truly can change a child’s life, and through education, we can build a better world for all.

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